This week's podcast is with Nadia Smith, Sustainable Futures Project Manager from South East London Community Energy to talk hope and renewable energy.
Nadia speaks about the hope and inspiration she finds in the Dream Renewables project in Dzita, Ghana, and Bright, a young man who has designed a solar system for his primary school after taking part in a renewable energy course.
Her story began when she started noticing the wind turbines whilst at school in Egypt, to getting involved with Engineering Without Borders whilst at University, to working with SELCE, an organisation based in Lewisham where Nadia was born.
We speak about SELCE's origins: the co-operative was formed in February 2014 by a group of people living in Greenwich and Lewisham. They were strongly aware of the need to tackle climate change and move to low carbon energy.Their aims and ambitions include: installing solar panels on the roofs of schools, churches and community centres throughout SE London, proving cheap and sustainable energy for the community. SELCE also provide a fuel poverty advice service, giving local people advice on tariffs and energy suppliers. They have recently launched a free online and telephone advice sessions for vulnerable people.
Nadia explains the model of funding the project via selling community shares, and how "people bought shares as Christmas presents... a lot of people invest in us because they think it is the right thing to do.... they are investing in their children's future"
When the panels are installed on school roofs, the bills are halved but also "the school can show kids what renewable energy looks like"
The great news is, even if you aren't based in Lewisham, there are community energy groups throughout the UK (and the world)- so its easy to get involved. Community energy groups in England can be found here
You can find out more about SELCE here
or twitter @SELonCommEnergy
This podcast is to accompany my book of the same name, which was published in September 2020 and is available all the usual places, but I'd love it if you went here to support independent bookshops
Thanks so much for listening- more soon!